Researchers from the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are making progress in developing a gene that might provide a stronger defense against the wheat disease Fusarium head blight.

Fusarium and the toxin it can produce, deoxynivalenol (DON), have cost the wheat industry billions of dollars in recent years, but scientists have now constructed antifungal genes with pieces of genetic material from Fusarium.

This work may be applicable for fighting other major crop pests and the scientists are seeking a patent for some of their antifungal genes.

The North American Millers' Association (NAMA), which has funded the research, reacted enthusiastically to the progress.

For information on the gene research project, click here.